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All square in Group C openers


All four teams in Group C in the Euro 2022 Finals are on one point each after the opening matches both ended in draws.


The meeting between reigning Champions, the Netherlands and Sweden at Bramall Lane was arguably the most eagerly anticipated match so far and it did not disappoint as the teams battled out a 1-1 draw in front of an attendance of 21,342.


The match was also notable for Cheryl Foster becoming the first Welsh female referee to officiate in a major tournament and she acquitted herself well on the big occasion.


Sweden had the better of matters in the first half but the Dutch were greatly hampered by injuries, first of all to goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and shortly afterwards, they were to fall a goal behind. Kosovare Asllani had looked sharp from the start and had earlier gone close when hitting the side netting, but ten minutes before half time, the former Manchester City striker produced a great piece of skill to nutmeg Aniek Nouwen before driving the ball across goal and into the path of Jonna Andersson, who fired past substitute keeper Daphne van Domselaar to put her side ahead.


The unfortunate Nouwen was also forced off with injury ahead of half time, meaning another re-organisation for the Dutch defence, but they managed to keep the deficit at one going into the interval despite Lina Hurtig going close with a header.


After the break, the Netherlands increased their tempo and drove forward with more purpose, bringing Vivianne Miedema and Danielle van de Donk more into the game. This brought its reward as Miedema produced a fantastic turn by the touchline to spin away from Amanda Ilestadt and she made her way towards the edge of the area and although her intended pass was blocked by Andersson, the ball broke for Jill Roord to turn and plant a low shot beyond the dive of Hedvig Lindahl and into the bottom corner for the equaliser.


Miedema was narrowly off target with a shot on the hour after working herself an opening but Sweden were starting to pick themselves up from the setback and Fridolina Rolfo, who had been at the heart of much of their play in the first half, shaved the bar with a cross-shot.


The Netherlands then had a great opportunity as Jackie Groenen found Miedema who in turn fed Roord in front of goal but her first touch was a little heavy and Magdalena Eriksson got across to make a perfectly timed block and avert the danger.


Neither team seemed satisfied with a draw and both sought a winner but a late breakthrough would not come. Van Domselaar performed impressively in goal as a replacement to help her team pick up a point as both sides lived up to pre-tournament expectations.


Netherlands: Sari van Veenendaal (sub Daphne van Domselaar 22mins), Aniek Nouwen (sub Marisa Olislagers 41mins), Stefanie van der Gragt, Lynn Wilms, Dominique Janssen, Jill Roord (sub Lineth Beerensteyn 79mins), Jackie Groenen, Sherida Spitse, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk (sub Victoria Pelova 79mins), Lieke Martens. Subs not used: Merel van Dongen, Renate Jansen, Caitlin Dijkstra, Romee Leuchter, Kerstin Casparij, Damaris Egurrola, Esmee Brugts, Barbara Lorsheyd.


Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Amanda Ilestedt (sub Johanna Rytting Kaneryd 71mins), Jonna Andersson, Hanna Glas, Nathalie Bjorn, Magdalena Eriksson, Caroline Seger, Lina Hurtig (sub Stina Blackstenius 71mins), Kosovare Asllani, Filippa Angeldahl (sub Hanna Bennison 71mins), Fridolina Rolfo. Subs not used: Linda Sembrant, Amanda Nilden, Emma Kullberg, Sofia Jakobsson, Jennifer Falk, Rebecka Blomqvist, Zecira Musovic, Olivia Schough, Elin Rubensson.



Switzerland meanwhile were quick out of the blocks as they met Portugal at Leigh but had to settle for a 2-2 draw following a Portuguese fightback after the break.


The game got off to a spectacular start as Coumba Sow picked up the ball and drove at the Portugal defence before powering a 25-yard strike past Ines Pereira to put her side in front. Before Portugal could recover, the failed to deal with a free kick played into their area three minutes later and Rahel Kiwic stole in at the far post to head into the roof of the net and make it two.


Portugal began to settle and get their passing game going but were struggling to make headway against the Swiss defence who were now prepared to sit on their two-goal lead and hit on the counter attack.


The pattern of the game continued in the second half with Jessica Silva firing over at one end, whilst a Swiss break ended with Ramona Bachmann dragging a shot just past the post.


As the game approached the hour, Portugal got the lifeline they needed. Ana Marques Borges floated a corner into the area which was met by Diana Gomes and although her initial header was saved by Gaelle Thalmann, Gomes was able to prod home the rebound and bring her side back into the game.


Six minutes later and Portugal were level. Tatiana Pinto whipped in a dangerous near post cross which Silva swept past Thalmann and into the far corner of the net.


Portugal were now in the ascendancy and introduced much vaunted youngster Kika Nazareth into the fray. Switzerland then became more of an attacking force with both teams sensing that a draw might not be enough.


Telma Encarnacao twice came close to winning it, first with a powerful shot on the turn from the edge of the area which cannoned back off the post and then lunging at, but not quite reaching, a low driven cross by Nazareth. Neither team could grab a winner though and it remains to be seen whether the result will ultimately damage both sides’ chances of progressing.


Portugal: Ines Pereira, Catarina Amado, Diana Gomes, Carole Costa, Joana Marchao, Tatiana Pinto (sub Fatima Pinto 83mins), Dolores Silva, Andreia Norton, Diana Silva, Jessica Silva (sub Telma Encarnacao 83mins), Ana Marques Borges (sub Kika Nazareth 77mins). Subs not used: Alicia Correia, Silvia Rebelo, Suzane Pires, Vanessa Marques, Patricia Morais, Lucia Alves, Carolina Mendes, Andreia Faria, Rute Costa.


Switzerland: Gaelle Thalmann, Noelle Maritz, Viola Calligaris, Rahel Kiwic, Eseosa Aigbogun, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Lia Walti (sub Sandrine Mauron 90mins), Sandy Maendly (sub Lara Marti 74mins), Geraldine Reuteler (sub Fabienne Humm 90mins), Coumba Sow, Ramona Bachmann. Subs not used: Julia Stierli, Rachel Rinast, Riola Xhemaili, Livia Peng, Luana Buhler, Svenja Folmli, Seraina Friedli, Nadine Riesen, Meriame Terchoun.